Assam-Nagaland meet to resolve border row

NEW DELHI, Oct 29 – As part of the initiative of the Supreme Court to resolve the vexed inter-State boundary problem, the court-appointed mediators and top officials of Assam and Nagaland met to work out a feasibility report. The meeting is likely to continue tomorrow, as well.

The day-long meeting held in a hotel was in keeping with the direction of the Supreme Court that appointed two mediators to help resolve the border problem. The mediators with the help of the State Government officials and a representative of the Union Home Ministry, is to submit its feasibility report to the Apex Court, in the first week of December.

The meeting was attended by Chief Secretary of Assam, Naba Kumar Das, Home Commissioner, Jishnu Barua, while Nagaland Government was represented by State Chief Secretary, Lalthara.

The State Chief Secretary, when contacted declined to reveal anything stating that it was a confidential meeting.

The first of series of meeting was held on September 18, when the two sides reportedly managed to narrow down the differences. The Court has opted for mediation route rather then adjudication to resolve the over two-decades old problem.

In August, Division Bench of the Supreme Court of Justice Markandeya Katju and Justice TS Thakur appointed senior advocates Sriram Panchoo of Madras High Court and Niranjan Bhatt of Gujarat High Court to mediate between Assam and Nagaland.

The Supreme Court had said that the chief secretaries of the Assam and Nagaland should be associated with the process of mediation. If the mediators’ preliminary report is found “positive,” the Supreme Court will extend the tenure of the mediators.

Earlier in August, the Supreme Court had observed that “adjudication cannot resolve such differences that have become a routine affair” and had asked the two states to ‘sit across the table.’

The Supreme Court had stated the difficulties involved in adjudicating border disputes such as the one between Assam and Nagaland. “This matter is pending since 1988 and would go on for the next 25 years when you and I won’t be around,” the Bench had stated.